UK railways to ‘go paperless’ soon making paper tickets null and void
A passenger puts his paper ticket through the reader at the ticket barrier at London's Marylebone railway station Getty Images

Paper train tickets may soon be a thing of the past in the UK. Passengers will be instead given the option to scan their bank cards or smartphones to authenticate a journey.

The Telegraph reports that paperless train travel could become a reality sometime soon in 2016. Travellers will be able to book or purchase tickets online. They can then travel using either the bank cards or smartphones through which they bought the tickets.

Ticket barriers will also be upgraded at stations across the country, which will allow travellers to gain entry by just tapping their phones or cards, similar to those on the London Underground. The ticket barriers will double as a "digital reader" that will reportedly scan the bank cards and phones when placed against it.

Once the barrier recognises that the ticket has been purchased, the passengers will be allowed access. The same procedure will have to be repeated on reaching the destination. The new system would remove the need for passengers to queue at ticket booths or ticket coupon printing machines in stations.

Representatives from the Department of Transport and various banks have met and discussed the time frame within which the service could be introduced to the general public, The Telegraph added.

Jacqueline Starr, managing director of customer experience at the Rail Delivery Group, which represents Network Rail, said: "We are in the early stages of exploring how passengers could pay for and store tickets on their contactless credit or debit cards as part of our wider aim to improve the experience of rail passengers and move towards smarter types of ticket."

The switch is reflective of the British government's plan to take the country towards a cashless and paperless society. Commenting on the impending change, a spokesperson for the Department of Transportation explained that the plan is in line with the division's intention "to build a 21st century railway that provides better journeys for all, and improved ticketing is a vital part of that customer experience".